HUNDREDS of protesters demanding better rights for travellers to Bangladesh demonstrated outside the Bangladesh Assistant High Commission in Manchester.
Two other demonstrations were also held outside the Bangladesh High Commissions in London and Birmingham.
The simultaneous demonstrations were organised by the Voice of Justice group and was in response to the brutal beating of UK based barrister and popular TV presenter Rizwan Hussain at Dhaka’s Zia International Airport in April.
Mr Hussain was attacked when he entered a restricted area at the airport in Dhaka to help a travelling female and her daughter who were having problems with their tickets.
He was confronted by five airport staff who took him to a room and brutally beat him. Mr Hussain suffered bruises to 60 per cent of his body and was left with a broken arm and leg.
The attack has angered Bangladeshis throughout the UK. This lead to the formation of new campaign group ‘Justice for Rizwan Hussain’ who organised a huge demonstration in London’s Altaf Ali Park, a petition has also been circulating on the social networking site, Facebook and has already resulted in over 8,000 supporters.
During today’s rally, campaigners from Rochdale, Oldham, Ashton, Hyde, Manchester and Bradford called for reassurances from the Bangladesh government that a similar incident will not happen in the future. They also called for an apology by the Bangladeshi authorities for the attack on Mr Hussain and the trial and dismissal of the officers involved in the incident, upon their conviction.
Said Nanu Miah who was representing the Oldham Muslim Centre: “We need to hit the Bangladesh authority where it really hurts and to do that we need to boycott flights to Bangladesh and to stop sending money to Bangladesh through their banking system for at least two-three months. We also need to raise money to help with the campaign and if the Bangladesh government do not take action we will take this matter to a higher court.
“This will make them stand up and listen to our concerns.
“What happened to Mr Hussain is deplorable.
“We are here today not only for Mr Hussain but for all Bangladeshis who want to feel safe when they travel to Bangladesh”
Local campaigner from Rochdale, Khandaker Abdul Musabbir MBE said: “This matter must not be taken lightly at all.
“As a community we have come together from all over the north-west to support this cause.
“There have been too many people hurt or killed whilst travelling through Zia International Airport. Enough is enough.
“We want to be able top travel safely to Bangladesh and the kind of brutish behaviour shown towards Mr Hussain must not be tolerated.”
Manchester councillor, Luthfur Rahman added: “It’s important the authorities take notice of what the community has to say – Bangladeshi families throughout the UK have been concerned about this matter and action needs to be taken soon.”
A signed petition was handed to the Bangladesh Assistant High Commission, Asad Alam Siam.
Mr Siam assured demonstrators that action was being taken.
He said: “The Bangladesh government is embarrassed about what had happened to Rizwan Hussain and the men involved have all been court marshalled.”